Graphic Novel Review: Kiss Number 8

Title: Kiss Number 8
Author: Colleen A.F. Venable and Ellen T. Crenshaw
Genre: Graphic Novel, LGBTQ coming of age
Published: 2019
Pages: 305
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Library

Amanda can’t figure out what’s so exciting about kissing. It’s just a lot of teeth clanking, germ swapping, closing of eyes so you can’t see that godzilla-sized zit just inches from your own hormonal monstrosity. All of her seven kisses had been horrible in different ways, but nothing compared to the awfulness that followed Kiss Number Eight. An exploration of sexuality, family, and faith, Kiss Number Eight is a coming-of-age tale filled with humor and hope.

I’ve been on an LGBTQ kick for a while. It’s a refreshing change of reading and many of the stories I’ve read have been amazing. This one is no different. I’ve been told it’s great and I shouldn’t pass up the chance to give it a try, so, of course, I had to hit the library and grab it.
This is a very intense and realistic LGBTQ story. There of themes of religious spurred homophobia, self-realization, hazing, and tension of family coming together and breaking apart. I wasn’t expecting the amount of depth in this story when I heard about it. I thought it was just going to be a fun read about some high school drama. But this is a must read for those who are struggling with their sexuality and beliefs, no matter what age you are. There were times when I was reading this book and had to keep myself from crying or getting too emotional. I was on the edge of my seat a few times, too, not knowing how things would pan out or if everything would fix itself. I won’t spoil anything too much, but the ending is sweet and very satisfying, if not what I was expecting.
I really felt for Maddy through her problems. It’s not easy to come from a very religious background. Any kind of self questioning or discovery always has a bit of guilt and self-loathing attached to it if you’ve been brought up that “it’s a sin”. There was a lot of that going on with her and I hated seeing her self-destruction. I wanted to reach into the book and hold her through her dark moments. I know that it’s not possible, but that I had that reaction really speaks to the phenomenal story telling.
I think this will be a book that I will always recommend to others. It’s certain to resonate with almost anyone who reads it.… Read More Graphic Novel Review: Kiss Number 8

Book Review: To Catch a Pirate

When Annalisa Townsend’s ship is set upon by pirates in search of her father’s treasure, one of the crew, James Sterling, discovers her in the hold. When he moves to take her necklace, she begs him not to, as it is all she has left of her mother. He accepts a kiss in exchange for the necklace. “A fair trade, m’lady,” he tells her afterward, before disappearing.
A year later, with a forged letter of marque, Annalisa is intent on hunting down the wretched James Sterling and reclaiming her father’s treasure from him. But now she’s in danger of him stealing something far more vulnerable this time: her heart.… Read More Book Review: To Catch a Pirate

Graphic Novel: Pumpkin Heads

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.
Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.
But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.
Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .
What if their last shift was an adventure?… Read More Graphic Novel: Pumpkin Heads

Graphic Novel Review: Mooncakes

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.
Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.
One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.
Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.… Read More Graphic Novel Review: Mooncakes